Most public display of my artwork since 2003 has been mural commissions.

These murals and colour effects use mainly watercolour or natural paints, finished with a glaze for protection. The technique is called lazure: it uses layer upon layer of semi-transparent colour. This is a flexible method that enables colour to free itself from the flat appearance of normal wall paints and appear to float in front of a white surface, which illuminates the colour from behind. The surface must have a texture to hold the layers, however. Sometimes a texture is created by adding sand or other material to the undercoat.  The word ‘lazure’ is derived from the German “lasur” meaning “glaze”.

The murals shown here represent a body of work from 1997-2006, including 9 major lazure mural commissions, over 660, in Belgium, Australia and New Zealand (see Workshops and Projects page), in school halls, medical/therapeutic and educational spaces for youth, aged care and disability clients. I have also completed 7 smaller commissions: for a bookshop, retirement village, private bedrooms and medical waiting rooms. The murals range from 2m x 3m to 6m x 8m on any one wall, but are sometimes embedded in a lazured hall or large room, which means the total space may be up 120 sq.m.

Walls that breathe

The themes are primarily gentle, imaginative and colourful, qualities that bring out the best in watercolour medium. There are fantasy elements expressing the four elements in nature for children or young people with intellectual disabilities; and moods of serene inwardness  for the very elderly, for healing spaces or for quiet contemplation in chapels. Always the most important quality is that the colour breathes

The use of lazure colour is under-utilized in Australia, where it is very effective for creating atmosphere, since it has a softer finish than flat acrylics and oil paints. Most lazure murals do not overwhelm a space but fulfil it; therefore they are not always fully formed, allowing the viewer to “live into” the work. They are immersive, experiential spaces that allow the viewer to interact imaginatively with the work.

I use natural pigments or watercolour, but a fully saturated surfaces are more difficult to achieve with watercolour than with acrylics. Watercolour is a difficult wall medium, but is more transparent and mobile than acrylics and oils. Watercolour has a shining quality that only a master such as William Turner can achieve using oils.

2 Replies to “Murals”

  1. Hayley says:

    Just stopping by to Thank You for the comment you left on my blog a while back (on my DIY Lazure post). Sorry it took so long to get back to you! (My blog is Your gallery is LOVELY and so inspirational. It makes me want to do more- the right way! 🙂
    And to repeat my response to your original comment: Thank you!! This is exactly the kind of explanation I was searching for when I first started this project years ago. From what I could find at the time, it seemed like the traditional Lazure method was a guarded trade secret, passed down through apprenticeships. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury or means to learn it that way, so I had to fake it. There was very little “how to” info out there. But, I have long since wondered about the real roots of the process, so thank you so much for the info!!!

  2. Hi Hayley,

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you but been in transit for a few months.

    I’m so glad you found my comment useful and its great that you experimented yourself with how to get the same effects. That’s creativity for you – not just following instructions but exploring for yourself. All the best for your artistic future!

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